October 2011 Newsletter

Susan C. Ryan, Esq. 



Attorney Ryan attended the 21st Annual Family Law Conference presented by the Massachusetts Bar Association on October 28th and 29th at the Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham. This conference was attended by approximately two hundred family law attorneys who came from all parts of Massachusetts to hear a variety of panelists speak about recent developments in family law.  Perhaps the most eagerly attended session was the session addressing "What Alimony Reform Will Mean for Your Clients and Your Practice." The panelists included Probate and Family Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey, the Honorable Peter C. DiGangi, and several family law attorneys.  The panel applauded the Alimony Reform Act of 2011, citing it provides guidance and predictability, and also encourages alimony recipients to become more financially independent, particularly in shorter term marriages.


Alimony was certainly a focal point of the conference, but other topics such as defining and allocating income in support cases, the removal of a child/children from the Commonwealth on a permanent basis, and parent alienation were also important topics that were addressed by various panelists, including attorneys and judges.


The two day conference certainly highlighted the importance of evaluating alimony cases under the present law, and the Alimony Reform Act, which becomes law on March 1, 2012.  There are significant changes that will take effect at that time, which were highlighted in the October 2011 newsletter.


In addition to attending the recent Family Law Conference, Attorney Ryan also attended the MCLE Alimony Summit in Boston on September 26, 2011. For more information regarding the law, and/or the impact the new law may have on your situation, please contact the office.



The "Alimony Reform Act of 2011" describes alimony as "the payment of support from a spouse, who has the ability to pay, to a spouse in need of support for a reasonable length of time, under a court order." Under the present alimony law, the courts have discretion in awarding alimony pursuant to the factors enumerated in M.G.L. 208 section 34. In March 2012 when the Reform Act becomes law, the courts will be able to order periodic or one-time payments of support, other than "general alimony." Specific duration periods for alimony are stated in Section 49 of the Reform Act. These time periods relate to general term alimony, which will be discussed in the November newsletter.


"Rehabilitative alimony" is a periodic support payment to a spouse who is expected to become economically self-sufficient by a predicted time, by reemployment, completion of job training, or receipt of a lump sum under a judgment. This may be applicable in cases where a spouse has lost his/her job and needs to be either retrained, complete his/her education, or perhaps have money to begin employment.


"Reimbursement alimony" is the periodic or one-time support payment to a spouse after a marriage of not more than five (5) years to transition the spouse for economic or noneconomic contribution to the financial resources of the payor spouse, such as enabling the spouse to complete an education or job training. This may be applicable when one spouse supported the other while he/she attended graduate school, or perhaps contributed the monies for such education, or any other expenses.


"Transitional alimony" is the periodic or one-time support payment to a spouse after a marriage of not more than five (5) years to transition the spouse to an adjusted lifestyle or location as a result of the divorce. Such support may be appropriate if the parties relocated to a different location for employment benefitting the payor spouse. The recipient spouse would require support for a period of time, or a lump sum payment while he/she obtained employment.


Each case is fact specific. There are numerous other situations that may arise under each type of alimony, after the Reform Act becomes law in March 2012.



It is not too early to be thinking about the holidays and parenting/visitation time. November and December are upon us, and it is essential to insure that provisions have been made for important holiday occasions. If a hearing on temporary orders has not occurred, or is not scheduled for some time, holidays should be addressed as soon as possible. The courts prefer that you not wait until the last minute to address these important times. Save yourself unnecessary worry, and plan ahead, so you do not have to seek such orders on an emergency basis.

Melaney's Corner


Melaney HodgeIn Massachusetts, the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) is a set of rules which govern sales transactions and the like. The UCC is a set of standard

regulations promulgated by a national body which are drafted and then submitted to states for individual ratification or modification. Massachusetts adopted an extremely consumer-friendly version of the UCC in order to protect consumers from shady salespersons. For instance, the UCC provides implied warranties on goods which are difficult to waive when dealing with a private consumer purchasing the good for personal use. In order to waive an implied warranty, the seller must have language on a written contract which is conspicuous and explicitly states the warranties are waived.


That is just one of many provisions enacted to protect consumers from unsavory merchants. The uniform rules were established to avoid costly litigation of contractual issues between big businesses, but they have significant protective powers over the average consumer. Massachusetts, more so than other states, has used the UCC to take a proactive approach in protecting purchasers.


Issue: 27

scales of justice

In This Issue
Attorney Ryan Attends Annual Family Law Conference
Rehabilitative Alimony, Reimbursement Alimony, and Transitional Alimony
Holiday Reminder
Melaney's Corner
Join Our Mailing List
Need a Speaker?
Questions?  Comments?
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If anyone has a topic that would be of general interest, please do not hesitate to contact the office and let us know what items would be of general interest to the readers of this newsletter.
Susan C. Ryan, Esq.
Law Office of Susan Castleton Ryan, PC
(781) 982-8850

This newsletter is designed to keep you up-to-date with changes in the law.  For help with these or any other legal issues, please call our firm today.
The information in this newsletter is intended solely for your information .  It does not constitute legal advice, and it should not be relied on without a discussion of your specific situation with an attorney.